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case study

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

Tameside wanted to design a new operating model that quickly locked in some of benefits of the new hybrid working models which forced many organisations to change what, where and how they work. The ‘Work Smart’ project was established and Baker Stuart were tasked to work with the Council and to bring forward recommendations for workplace culture and how they use their workplaces, with a specific focus on locality hubs for cross-team neighbourhood working. This included a review of suitable buildings across the borough with a view to ensure local delivery of services and a base in each area for council officers.

The ‘Work Smart’ project provided a unique opportunity to not only create new workplaces and rationalise the property portfolio, but more importantly create a new organisational culture that engages their people and empowers them in a way that maximises productivity and inclusivity, whilst recognising that everyone is different and seeks different solutions to achieving a better work-life balance.


Developing a workplace model

Work Smart was both customer and employee focused. Its aims were to provide services to residents and businesses when and where they wanted them. The requirement was to develop a workplace model and accompanying strategy for the estate aligned to the strategic business vision, optimising and retaining the existing property portfolio where appropriate and recommending disposal of new properties where it would be more efficient and effective for the new operating model.


Baker Stuart undertook a thorough consultation programme that enabled a full understanding of the council’s and other stakeholders needs alongside a review and analysis of current council assets for future use or disposal:

  • A series of structured interviews and engaging workshops with teams from all Directorates and key partners to understand staff needs, perceptions, key adjacencies / interactions and to develop a vision for hybrid working in the Council.
  • Development of a hybrid working strategy and conceptual workplace designs to support hybrid working for both the main council building (Tameside One) that can also be rolled out to other council buildings
  • Worked closely with the Council’s Asset Management team to undertake a review of key council buildings in strategic locations as potential locality hubs; reviewing location, potential capacity, suitability for use and costs and backlog maintenance

Long term workplace strategy

  • A vision and concept design for the workplace that people wanted to come to whilst allowing for flexible working patterns were appropriate
  • A hybrid working strategy, that is aligned to the needs and wants of the council and customers to support both local service delivery and Council staff
  • A locality model with 4 hubs and a central main council facility, along with local facilities for specific service needs.
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